Joseph Schwall – Salem

Joseph Schwall MSOE
Joseph Schwall is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Name: Joseph Schwall

Hometown: Salem

Course of Study: Mechanical Engineering

Why did you choose MSOE?
I liked the idea of having small class sizes taught by actual professors and not TAs. In addition to the small class sizes, the high job placement rate at MSOE was hard to ignore, and it was reassuring to think that I would have a job lined up for me once I graduate. One of the other main reasons I wanted to attend MSOE is that it was actually cheaper for me to attend than the other schools that I had been accepted to because of all of the scholarships offered as well as the grants and financial aid that I would receive.

How has financial aid impacted your college experience?
The grants and financial aid that I have received is the only way I could have afforded going to college without having to take out large loans that I would be paying off for years to come. I am fortunate to have received scholarships, grants, and financial aid.

Did receiving financial aid impact your decision to attend MSOE?
Financial aid played an important role when it came to choosing what college I was going to attend. I come from a family where my father is the sole income provider for the household, not by choice but because of circumstance. Growing up in a lower income family I never really put much thought or emphasis on attending college because I knew that it would be infeasible. This is the mindset that kept up until sophomore year in high school, up until this point I had wanted to become a carpenter or a machinist even though I dreamed of becoming a mechanical engineer. I excelled in high school, and I had a lot of my teachers encourage me to continue to pursue an education once I graduated, and this is when I learned about the opportunities that financial aid could provide. From that point forward, I set a goal, and I strived to reach that goal to be the first person in my immediate family to attend a four-year college and to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I toured and applied to all of the schools in Wisconsin that offered a reputable mechanical engineering program, and I was accepted to all of them. When I toured MSOE, I knew it was the school that I wanted to attend, but I also knew I would not be able to afford it. When I received my acceptance letter, it also included a scholarship award that made MSOE an affordable option for me. I continued to apply for private scholarships in my free time, and I applied for federal aid (via the FAFSA). After all of the scholarships, private grants offered by MSOE, and federal aid, it then became clear to me that it would be financially feasible for me to pursue my dream of becoming a mechanical engineer at the school of my choice. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I am proud of what I am pursuing and all of my accomplishments along the way.

What will a college degree mean to you?
To me a college degree will mean more than a sheet of paper with my name on it that will help me to get a “good job.” To me a college degree, especially from MSOE, will represent all of the dedication and hard work that I have put forth to become a better engineer and a contributing member of society. MSOE’s goal is to prepare students to successfully transition into the subsequent chapters of their lives. The road is not easy, but we will be given the knowledge and education to be well equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead. I anticipate that a college degree will also help me to have a successful career that I will enjoy which will also allow me to provide a comfortable way of life for my family in the future.

Have you learned something during college you didn’t expect?
Throughout my years in college I have met incredible people from around the world, including astounding teachers who were always more than willing to share their abundance of knowledge for all who were willing to learn. It would take me hours to describe everything I learned that I did not anticipate, but I will touch on the major ones that come to mind. The largest unexpected concentration of knowledge I acquired came from the opportunity I took to study abroad in Germany. I met so many incredible people from many different countries who taught me about their cultures, traditions, and ways of life. I learned a lot from my studies abroad, and the different ways people approach problems, especially in my mechanical engineering courses abroad. I also learned a lot about independence and how to live outside of my comfort zone. I was in a foreign country with a different language and culture, and I needed to learn how to adapt to these situations. In my academics at MSOE I never would have guessed that I would have taken the classes that I did in regards to engineering. I also never would have guessed that I would have so many opportunities to engage in hands-on learning, both inside and outside of the classroom. These are just a few examples of times that I have learned or experienced things that I did not anticipate.

What are your plans after graduation?
My career goals are to obtain either a test engineering or component design position at an automotive or transportation company.


A passion for cars and motorcycles is what led Joseph Schwall of Salem, Wisconsin to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Small class sizes and high job placement rates are what helped him choose to do it at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

Joseph was a student at Westosha Central High School when he was first introduced to engineering through drafting and metal working classes. He wanted to learn more, so he participated in an MSOE summer program geared toward high school students interested in engineering. “Besides learning about different majors, I got to see what it would be like to attend MSOE,” Joseph said.

When it was time to choose a college, Joseph toured his top schools, conducted research, and did the math. Scholarship, financial aid, and grant opportunities were important considerations. “Grants and financial aid are the only way I could have afforded going to college,” he said.

Joseph came to MSOE with the values of hard work and determination that he had learned at home. “My father is the most determined, hardworking individual I have ever met,” Joseph said. “He works seven days a week, 12-16 hours each day, so he can provide for his family. Seeing my father work so hard has had a huge impact on my life and made me aspire to be as hardworking and determined as he is.”

Now a senior, those qualities will be more important than ever as Joseph tackles his capstone project. Joseph is a member of MSOE’s Formula Hybrid Competition team– a group of students in MSOE’s Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) organization who collaboratively design and build a formula-style electric or plug-in hybrid racecar and compete in a series of international events. This educational competition emphasizes drivetrain innovation and fuel efficiency in a high-performance application.

“I am currently working on designing the hybrid control strategy,” Joseph said. “The goal is to find the optimal way to run the car to provide the horsepower while also providing the most efficient solution for dynamic events.”

While his participation on the Formula Hybrid team may be the pinnacle of his MSOE education, it is only one of many ways Joseph has challenged himself academically. Joseph studied systemic engineering design in Germany during his junior year, through a study abroad program. He will receive both a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from MSOE and the Diplom-Ingenieur from the Lübeck University of Applied Sciences in Lübeck, Germany. Joseph is also an active member of MSOE’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Joseph has prepared himself for life after graduation with two summer engineering internships at Rockwell Automation, where he was able to apply what he learned at MSOE in a real-world setting. After graduation, Joseph hopes to obtain either a test engineering or component design position at an automotive or transportation company.

“I am so fortunate to have received scholarships and financial aid like the Wisconsin Grant,” Joseph said, “I was able to focus on my studies.”

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